Thursday, 3 June 2010

Chloe

Chloe is the latest film from Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan, who, after taking a sojourn into more political fare such as his recent Adoration, returns to the psycho-sexual realm of his earlier films- like Exotica, and The Sweet Hereafter. Anyone who’s seen either of those films knows that Egoyan’s not one to shy away from controversy, and once again he pushes the envelope, with this standing as a frank examination of the occasionally changing sexual proclivities of a loving, mature couple. 

Also, Amanda Seyfried gets naked, but more on that later...
Enough say, this movie basically ia about a doctor [Julianne Moore] hires a young prostitute [Amanda Seyfried] to seduce her husband [Liam Neeson] - who she thinks is unfaithful.

I was especially upset at the abrupt, formulaic ending due to the fact that, up to that point, Chloe had been one of the more honest films I’ve seen about sex recently. Think about it- how often does Hollywood actually look at sex in an honest way? Nowadays, the industry seems to be more puritanical than they were around the time a film like Basic Instinct was made, so Chloe was a breath of fresh air.

Both Seyfried and Moore are outstanding actresses, and they carry the material further than it should go up to this point. Neither overplays her role, instead allowing the story  to develop patiently. Moore in particular is good as she wrestles with the pain Chloe's stories cause her and the excitement they provide.

This is not to say that Egoyan tells the story shyly. Not at all. One scene is particularly erotic, and its immediate aftermath, involving guilt and confusion, feels genuine enough, as well.

It's all downhill from there. Without giving too much away, let's say that just because you think the person you've hired for a job is finished and no longer needed, that doesn't mean she will agree. She may, in fact, have other plans entirely.

It’s really too bad that Chloe has such a contrived finale, as the ending is so lackluster and heavy-handed that it almost comes off as funny. Usually Egoyan’s a little more subtle, so the conclusion was a surprise. Still, it’s a film worth seeing, especially if you have a thing for either Moore or Seyfried. 

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